The cool thing about being a stepparent is that I can opt in or out. Today I’m in.
See, I went to bed early (for a Friday), and dragged my ass out of bed even earlier (for a Saturday) only to discover all the lights on in the rec room, one kid planning his next move in Seafarers of Cataan, and another playing games on the iPad. At 6:15. I’m taking over for a few moments today and declaring an across-the-board 8:30 bedtime. If they’re going to get up at six anyway, they’ll have to be forced to go to sleep earlier. I don’t want miserable, unrested kids on my watch. My husband’s last words to them last night, around ten, after “I love you,” after they’d watched the entire NHL All-Star Fantasy draft and a couple episodes of Seinfeld, and then played one more round of Seafarers, was, “No need to get up early.” Uh huh.
You can’t give little people who aren’t programmed to sleep-in your permission to sleep-in. What he was doing, crafty adult male that he is, was giving himself permission to sleep in, while I spent my precious, still-dark early-morning writing time listening to Cataan scenarios and cheers of victory over whatever rigged team was losing on the iPad. Well, I foiled his plan and sent the kids back to bed with the option of reading under their book lights if they still insisted on being awake before daylight (Let’s organize a return to reading books while we’re at it, before their brains turn to Jell-o.).
I’m holding my ground until 7:00. Even though I hear their voices downstairs, probably discussing how crazy I am for making them sit in the dark for 45 minutes while bacon is probably sizzling over there in the alternate reality, I’m not budging. It’s the adults in this world who are burdened with crafting order out of chaos. The children in this world need it, crave it; although children can’t always express that need except in poor performance later on in the day after a short, sleepless night. My sweet husband had his chance, and he blew it with a no-need-to-get-up-early. I’m taking over now.